Friday, May 18, 2012

Beware Of Armed Chimps! No Joke!

Especially if they're behind bars..

Santino, a male chimp at Sweden's Furuvik Zoo has apparently devised various schemes for tricking humans that has scientists rethinking their theories on animal behavior, according to a new study published in the journal PLoS One. There ar researchers who see this chimp's actions as hinting at a deep level of thinking once only associated with humans.

One day two years ago,Santino apparently got tired of being gawked at by zoo visitors, so he started throwing stones in their general direction.

Later that same day, when a different group of people approached his pen, the chimp came up with a new idea. "Santino approached them holding two stones, but this time appearing non-aggressive and munching on an apple," says Eoin O'Carroll at The Christian Science Monitor. He waited until the humans got closer and then pelted them with the rocks , taking the humans by surprise.

Santino got even craftier. Later, when no one was watching, Santino collected a large amount of hay and placed it near the visitor's section, hiding his collection of stones under it. He then plopped down on the hay, and when unsuspecting visitors came close and without any warning, pelted them with his hidden arsenal.

After zookeepers removed any rocks from his pen to prevent Santino from using them as ammo, he came up with a new tactic. Santino was caught breaking off pieces of the concrete floor, which he had fashioned into small discs he could throw.

Yes Santino is one crafty chip.

Simian males have been known to fling missiles like sticks and feces at onlookers before. I once observed a group of black children at the Bronx Zoo getting a poop bombardment from a bunch of chimps the children had been laughing at a little too exuberantly, much to the chimp's amusement. But what makes Santino's attacks different is that he planned the attacks so deliberately, varying his tactics each time for better results. Psychologists call this theory of mind, the ability to understand that others possess thoughts, desires, and motivations different from one's own.

Or in other words, Santino gave some thought to psyching out the enemy for maximum effect, and used the U.S. Marine's splendid motto..'Adapt, Improvise, Overcome'.

So, what's Santino's motivation? Michael Huffman of Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute think the primate's stone-throwing is all about testosterone, and "may serve to augment the effect of intimidation displays." Other scientists think the answer could be that Santino simply gets enjoyment out of tricking humans.

Of course, the real motivation is probably to be found in an application I located to the Federal government for a $300,000 grant from the Obama Administration's stimulus funds or its equivalent in cherries, grapes, bananas and Jack Daniels filed by one 'Dr. Santino Chimp' of Sweden to provide shovel ready jobs in a stone quarry.

I may not have gotten that last part exactly right.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Santino can replace Leon Panetta?

Anonymous said...

Haven't you seen the documentary, Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Santino is just hiding out until election day. The the poop will really hit.